From The Desk Of Hard Working Americans: Mickey Hart (Drummer, Author, Shaman, Healer Or Neural Net Wearing Psychedelic Madman?)

Gonzo troubadour Todd Snider is the de facto leader of Hard Working Americans, a band that evolved out of his friendship with Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools. The group’s self-titled debut began as a collection of Snider’s favorite songs, many from past tourmates like country traditionalist Kieran Kane (“The Mountain Song”) and the Bottle Rockets’ Brian Henneman (“Welfare Music”). Two of the album’s most memorable tracks (“Another Train” and “I Don’t Have A Gun”) are credited to Will Kimbrough, who played in Snider’s ’90s backup band, the Nervous Wrecks. Snider and Schools will be guest editing all week. Read our brand new feature on them.


Schools: One half of the Grateful Dead’s dual drum team (along with Bill Kreutzman), Mickey Hart is busily stepping undaunted into his seventh decade and remains at the forefront of the same socio-musical chemistry experiment that placed his band forever in the “love ’em or hate ’em but you can’t deny ’em” category. From composing the underscore for Francis Ford Coppolla’s classic Apocalypse Now (and bolstering what he considered to be weak artillery sound FX with massive kettle drums) in the ’70s and practically creating/dominating the Grammy world-music category in the ’80s, to more recently pillaging the deepest recesses of space to create The Rhythms of The Universe with physicist George Smoot and working closely with UCSF neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley to study and develop the means to use rhythm as a therapeutic tool to aid in the prevention of the loss of cognitive ability that comes with aging and diseases like Alzhiemers, the seemingly tireless shows no signs of the aging process himself. Amazingly, Hart does this all while continuing to forge new musical pathways with the Mickey Hart Band, overseeing the release of more than 25 titles on Smithsonian Folkways Records, maintaining an amazing bonsai collection and currently writing 13 different books at the same time. Mickey Hart is both a musician and a scholar as well as an American treasure. Keep up with him if you can!